If you aren't using video to help promote your products, services, or to simply engage with your customers, it's time to catch up. Video is a prominently used feature that brings life to your business and helps give viewers behind-the-scenes looks and insight into your business. It's also a great tool to help explain how to use what you have to offer or to answer common questions from customers.
Be sure to optimize your video for mobile devices, too. According to a Q1 report, video plays on mobile devices doubled year over year. It’s more than probable that your audience is of the same mindset - they want it now! Fortunately, there are new services that allow you and your business to connect with your current and prospective clients in real time via live-streaming. Simply put: You can broadcast your activity live to your audience via webcam or smartphone, much like you would watch a game live on WatchESPN.
How Can Using Live-Stream Video Benefit Your Business?
Educate your audience. Broadcast an event. Hold a Q&A session. Put on a webinar. The list goes on and on. You can also broadcast news about your business, elaborate and explain something that’s relevant to your industry, or discuss current developments in your industry and/or business. It’s all about making your business up close and personal for your audience.
You can set up a live event in advance. Select a date for an upcoming Q&A session and allow your audience to ask you questions about your business. Alternatively, you can spontaneously discuss brand new developments or news at the very moment a change has been made to your business (such as new website changes, new product or service announcement, introducing a new employee, etc.). Remember: It doesn't have to be a million dollar video set-up. Use your smartphone or a webcam to get the job done.
Maybe you don't have anything new and exciting happening, or the desire to host a Q&A session, but you want to give your audience a look at the behind the scenes of your business. It helps you because connecting with your audience always adds to your reputation as a company that cares about its customers.
Movie director Bryan Singer announced via mobile app a special DVD cut of X-Men: Days of Future Past to all the fans. During his announcement, people got to see the set for the new movie, as well as people who work behind the scenes, and the set for the new movie in the series. The video had huge engagement. Luke Dormehl of Fast Company says that live-streaming is all about capturing attention in a moment. Therefore, make sure that your event is compelling, lends itself to interaction, and that it truly needs to be live. Luke adds regarding choosing between a live event or posting a video online,
“Working out the right balance (between live and recorded) is going to be a matter of trial and error, depending on your business. Just make sure you have a plan.”
How to Live-Stream an EventWell, once you decide that an event or activity is live-stream worthy, there are two ways to live-stream: desktop or mobile. Some services provide apps for both, such as Ustream.
Other desktop live-stream services, such as Google Hangouts, give you an option to live-stream an event and record it at the same time so your audience who wasn’t able to participate in live event can view it at their convenience. For both of these desktop services, the only thing you will need is an account, good webcam, and a good microphone -- because the audio and video quality are what matters the most for the best possible live experience.
When it comes to Google Hangouts, be sure to already have a YouTube channel setup because they use it as a medium for live-streaming. Plus, after your Hangout is finished, it will stay there as a video that you and your audience can watch later. Also, make sure you have enough bandwidth to support a large crowd that will be interacting with you because a large crowd can slow your bandwidth down.
One of the most popular apps to use for live streaming is Periscope. They use the Twitter feed to broadcast. One thing to keep in mind with Periscope is that it saves your video for 24 hours and then deletes it. The only thing you need is an iPhone or Android smartphone with good internet connection and you can live-stream from almost anywhere and anytime.
Preparation Is the Key
Something you’ll want to do is notify your audience in advance that you will be live-streaming an event from a certain platform. You don’t need to know exact dates, but you will want them to know which service you’ll be using to broadcast from because not everyone has Periscope installed on their phones and they'll want to download it ahead of time.
If live-streaming an event on Google Hangouts or Ustream, make sure you test your equipment and your channel by running a private test. This allows you to make sure you know how to use all the options these services provide and correct any issues (such as bad equipment) if they appear. Better to be prepared than to have your event delayed, slowed down, or ruined.
If you’re going to be announcing a new product, or news in regards to your company or industry, you may also want to have a script ready just in case you lose your train of thought during the broadcast. In case you’re hosting a Q&A, you may want to have a list of answers of possible questions ready. People will ask the same question over and over again, and that is something that you can easily prepare for.
Wrapping It Up
Broadcasting a live event or discussion helps your reputation as a company that cares for its customers, that their customers are well-informed, and informed on time; while at the same time it allows your customers to get to know you a little better, see how your company looks from behind the scenes, and grow a closer connection to your company.
Of course, in order to have a live-stream audience, you first need to build your online presence and allow your customers and target market to find you, because if they can’t find you, they won’t participate in whatever activity you decide to do to engage with them. Ready for your live streaming debut? We are here to help you.